Review of The Tailors' Last Stand

"The End of an Era"
 Penny Culliford on 04/03/13

Watching "The Tailor's Last Stand" has all the bitter-sweetness of watching the end of an era. As the four remaining members of a retired tailors' trade union prepare to wind up their organisation for good, the audience has the privilege to catch a glimpse of the lives and loves of the men. The background is distinctly political, but seemingly belonging to a bygone era, as the men address each other as "comrade" and "brother", their dreams of an equal and fair society feeling quaint but poignant as they realise many of their dreams will die with their generation.

Ian Buckley's script is warm and generous and never feels overly political, as if focuses in on the relationships between the men, which lurch between deep affection and sometimes physically violent conflict. He has skilfully woven comedy and slapstick alongside pathos and genuine sadness to produce an engaging and believable play that draws you into the characters lives.

The four actors ably handle the characters, with Edmund Dehn as the officious chairman, Max, whose sensitive portrayal combines pomposity with vulnerability, making Max lovable and human as well as irritating and exasperating. Richard Ward's kindly but bumbling Tom often presents the voice of reason as Max clashes with Barney, his irascible nemesis as well as his best friend, played engagingly by Tony Parkin. Terry Jermyn completes the quartet with a sterling performance as the browbeaten (literally) George, who spends most of the play in a state of befuddlement.

The performances are polished and accomplished, but all the actors are clearly decades younger than the characters they are portraying, which takes as bigger suspension of disbelief than is normal, but it may prove too difficult to cast actors of the right age due to the physicality of the performance and the complexity of the script.

At the end, audiences feel they have had a glimpse inside the lives of people they may never have thought about before and with the passing years, will become just another part of history. As the icing on the cake, audiences who go and see this touchingly funny play also receive a souvenir trade union badge!

Event Venues & Times

Showing until 10/03/13

Barons Court | , Barons Court, London, W14 9HR